A Blogger Derby Could Help Your Organization

A blogger derby is where you encourage a lot of writing over a short course of time on topics of interest to a specific interest. It could be a good way to help formulate where your organization is going.

Lets look at some of the recent winners of the Toolbox.com blogger derby. Basically, the website, in a build to either increase or sustain traffic, challenged bloggers to post as often as possible. They received 5 points for each post in a four-week period and 2 points for each comment. The latter is actually a brilliant move because it’s better for search engine optimization (SEO) when your content is commented on.

Three cash prizes of $800, $500, and $350 were awarded. So, the site spent $1650 to pump up its traffic, which is probably a pittance compared to what you might invest in SEO experts. Of course, it helps to already have an established community, which Toolbox.com seems to have.

From what I can see, even though this was a contest based on quantity, there was some quality in the writing (at least in terms of message). The winner was an Arizona man named Dennis Stevenson. He’s a business operations VP in the healthcare field. But what I liked about his writing is its broad perspective. He wrote a piece I like called, “Is Your Manager Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker?

Stevenson related the tale of how he had to convey bad news to his manager. His project was overdue and over budget. He walked into her office, conveyed his problem, and she responded, with head buried in hands, “Dennis, you’re killing me.”

Normally, that wouldn’t be the sought after response. Yet it was the right one. Because that’s all she said of the matter. Instead of discussing the impact on her, the manager started instantly to fix the problem. As Stevenson said, “The impact on me was profound. All the energy I had been hoarding to withstand the fury of her reaction was released into figuring out how to dig us out of the situation and avoid the most collateral damage.” It’s a good lesson in how to manage people. My Stars Wars memories are fuzzy but I guess Luke was a people person type of manager.

Glenn Johnson, the second prize winner, is a senior vice president at Magic Software. (Where do executives find all this time to blog? I’m envious.) Anyway, if this were a contest based solely on blog posts headlines, he would have one for the one, “What if Pete Carroll Was Your CIO?

No, it wasn’t written after Carroll lost the Super Bowl with a questionable goal line call. I’m a geographic New England Patriots fan (but a genetic Giants fan), so I was pleased by Carroll’s decision.

Instead the post was written before the Super Bowl. I liked it because it incorporated good advice with a timely topic. It’s a good means for driving attention to your website if you can be proactive in posting about relevant topics. The time to write about the Super Bowl and its main players is before kick off – not days after.

Roger Graves, a Canadian IT specialist, was the third prize winner. He wrote a 27-part piece called “Writing Software in the Real World.” (Here’s the link to Part 27.) Did I read all 27 parts? Nope.

So what is the value in a 27-part series on writing software? Graves has created himself a potential e-book. That’s one of the under appreciated elements of blogging. It is a great way to develop a topic over many posts. You can consider it your proving ground for writing a book.

How so? Because you get diverse feedback in terms of the comments. That can help massage your text to make it as good as possible.

Maybe it’s time to look at a blogging contest in your own organization. Think of how it could help your team if different subject matters were written about each day. It could form the basis for an operations manual. At the very least, it gets your team members thinking about what they’re doing either by writing or reading posts. It could lead to some creative thinking and highlight problems that may be getting overlooked.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping, About.com, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.